WHAT IS SALVATION?
For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? The Holy Bible, Hebrews 2:2-3a (NAS)
DEFINITION AND NECESSITY OF SALVATION
sal•va•tion (sal vâ/shen), n. [ME. salvacioun; OFr. sauvation; L. salvatio < salvatus, pp. of salvare, to save], 1. a saving or being saved; preservation from destruction; rescue. 2. a person or thing which is a means, cause, or source of preservation or rescue. 3. in theology, spiritual rescue from sin and death; saving of the soul through the atonement of Jesus; redemption.
In Christian doctrine, salvation is a rescue or deliverance of humanity from a specific condition and from a specific destination. Salvation presumes that there is a danger, jeopardy, peril or life threatening hazard from which rescue must be accomplished on an imminent basis.
The CONDITION from which humanity must be rescued:
- Separation from the Creator/God of humanity.
- Such separation from the Creator/God occasioned by the sinful actions of all humanity (by disobeying and ignoring the commands of the Creator/God), both in congress and individually.
The DESTINATION from which humanity must be rescued::
- The sinful human actions necessitate that the Creator/God pronounce a judgment on all humanity as a punishment for those actions taken.
- Such punishment being separation from God, and assignment in company with Satan and all his followers in the region of Hell.
- Such assignment to be eternal in nature, never to be reconsidered, changed or revoked.
THE REASON FOR THE CONDITION OF HUMANITY
In Relation To The Federal Heads Of The Human Race – Adam and Eve.
- God created Adam and Eve in the image of Himself.
Genesis 1:26-30; 2:7, 21-25
- God created Adam and Eve with a moral nature, through which they were responsible to obey the precepts of the Creator/God which were made known to them.
A. They were to produce children – Genesis 1:28
B. They were to subdue the earth – Genesis 1:28
C. They were to rule over the earth – Genesis 1:28.
D. They were to eat from any tree in the garden – Genesis 2:16 EXCEPT
E. They were not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – Genesis 2:17
- Adam and Eve disobeyed and transgressed the precepts and commandments from God that had been made known to them:
A. Eve changed the words of God. Where God had commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Eve told the serpent that He had told them not to eat and not to touch it – Genesis 3.3
B. Eve ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, disobeying the command of God for selfish reasons – Genesis 3:6
B. Adam ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, disobeying the command of God for reasons unknown – Genesis 3:6
C. Adam and Eve had shame for their actions – Genesis 3:8
D. Adam and Eve became afraid of God because of their actions – Genesis 3:10
E. Adam denied responsibility for his disobedience and blamed God and his wife – Genesis 3:12
F. Eve denied responsibility for her disobedience and blaming deception by the serpent – Genesis 3:13
In Relation To The Action Of God Against Adam and Eve
- Both individuals were called to accountability by God for their actions, were judged guilty for their actions and punished in accord with the law of God – Genesis 3:11-13, 17, 23-24
- Eve was given pain in childbirth – Genesis 3:16
- Eve was placed in a subservient position to her husband, a position that she had not occupied prior to her disobedience – Genesis 3:16
- Adam was to work for his food – Genesis 3:17-19
- Adam and Eve would spiritually and physically die – Genesis 3:19; Romans 5:12
- Adam and Eve were sent out of the garden of paradise – Genesis 3:23-24
In Relation To The Action Of God Against The Human Race Because Adam and Eve Were The Federal Heads Of All Human Beings To Follow
- The progeny of Adam were born in his likeness – Genesis 5:3-4
- The condition of all human beings is connected with the sin of Adam and Eve
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned…
Romans 5:12 (NAS)
When Adam and Eve were first created, they had a correct and righteous relationship with God, because of which they had no need of salvation. As a result of their sin, their relationship was severed and they needed a redeemer in order to restore the relationship that they once had. Their progeny, the human race, are born separated from God, not because of sins committed, but by virtue of their paternity, being the children of Adam. This separation is reason enough for humanity to also need a redeemer in order to be reconciled back to God.
In Relation To The Action Of God Against The Human Race For Sins Committed By Them Against His Commands All men have not sinned in the action of Adam, but all men sin as a result of the action of Adam. It is the nature of all human beings to sin, as a result of the fallen condition inherited by being the children of Adam and Eve.
- All human beings are sinners, by nature and by personal action, and none are righteous. Some may sin to a greater or lesser degree, but all have failed to attain to the standard of God, which is perfection of character, spiritual righteousness and performance – Romans 3:9-10
- All human beings are condemned by God, for sins committed, subject to His divine judgment and wrath – Romans 3:10-20; Ephesians 2:3
- All human beings are separated from God to the extent that they are not children of God, but of the devil – 1 John 3:7-8; 1 John 5:19; John 8:44.
- All human beings are captives and slaves to the sin in their lives, not being able to overcome the power of sin by their own efforts – Romans 7; John 8:31-36;
- The entire being of humanity is affected by sin: mental, moral, spiritual and physical.
A. Mind: understanding is diminished – Ephesians 4:17-18 B. Heart: the core being is corrupted – Jeremiah 17:9-10; Mark 7:20-23 C. Conscience: is defiled – Titus 1:14-15 C. Spirit: is unclean – 2 Corinthians 7:1 D. Will: is weak – Romans 7:18 D. Body: is defiled – Isaiah 59:3; James 3:6
THE “SALVATION” OR PROVISION PROVIDED BY GOD THAT WILL RE- ESTABLISH AND BRING MAN INTO A RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD IS ACCOMPLISHED THROUGH THE ATONEMENT
- The atonement is provided by Jesus Christ because of the nature of His being.
He is both God and man, revealed in the incarnation, by which Jesus Christ as deity, took on the nature of humanity in addition to His deity.
And the Word [Jesus Christ] became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Holy Bible, John 1:14 (NAS)
While Christ as God was uncreated and eternal, the word “became” emphasizes Christ’s taking on humanity. This reality is surely the most profound ever because it indicates that the infinite became finite; the Eternal was conformed to time; the Invisible became visible; the supernatural One reduced Himself to the natural. In the incarnation, however, the Word did not cease to be God, but became God in human flesh, i.e., undiminished deity in human form as a man.
“The MacArthur Study Bible”, John MacArthur editor, commentary on John 1:14
- The atonement is provided by Jesus Christ because of His sinless life.
He [God] made Him [Jesus Christ] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
The Holy Bible, 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NAS)
In order to redeem man from sin, He had to be free from any evil taint of humanity. Had He committed only one sin, He would have been disqualified as the Redeemer of sinful men, Perfect Himself, Christ professed the highest conceivable standard of character and conduct for His followers, “Be ye therefore perfect.”
“All The Doctrines Of The Bible”, Herbert Lockyer, Zondervan, 1964, p. 48
- The atonement is provided by Jesus Christ because of His voluntary death on the cross.
THE REASON FOR HIS DEATH
AS A RANSOM
Sin places humanity into a state of captivity from which a price must be paid in order that a person might be redeemed or purchased out of that state. The state of captivity, brought about by the sinful condition of humanity, is like a slave market where people are sold as the possession of the purchaser, and in order to be free, the slave must pay for a release or deliverance; this is a ransom. Humanity is “sold under sin” (Romans 7:14) and therefore fall under the judgment of God. The judgment has already been pronounced by God and the penalty is death, both physically and spiritually. The death of Jesus Christ is the ransom paid in order to redeem the human race from the penalty of sin. The ransom is paid to God, as a payment for the release of humanity from the penalty of their sinful state. (cf. Matthew 20:28, 1 Peter 1:17-19, 1 Timothy 2:5-6, Galatians 3:13)
AS A PROPITIATION
The justice of god demands that a penalty for sin be paid, but is Jesus Christ as a propitiation that satisfies the justice of God and allows Him to forgive sinful human beings through His mercy and grace.
Crucial to the significance of Christ’s sacrifice, this word [propitiation] carries the idea of appeasement or satisfaction – in this case Christ’s violent death satisfied the offended holiness and wrath of God against those for whom Christ died (Is. 53:11; Col. 2:11-14). The Heb[rew] equivalent of this word was used to describe the mercy seat – the cover to the ark of the covenant – where the High-Priest sprinkled the blood of the slaughtered animal on the Day of atonement to make atonement for the sins of the people. In pagan religions, it is the worshiper not the god who is responsible to appease the wrath of the offended deity. But in reality, man is incapable of satisfying God’s justice apart from Christ, except by spending eternity in hell.
“The MacArthur Study Bible”, John MacArthur editor, commentary on Romans 3:25
AS A RECONCILIATION
By committing sins, which all have their direction toward God, humanity has become separated and alienated from God. A reconciliation cannot be effected because humanity cannot meet the requirements of God in a sinful state and cannot be removed from the authority of judgment by God. It is Jesus Christ who becomes the mediator of the reconciliation between man to God.
Reconciliation was not necessary from God’s side. Man has ever been the offender. His sin estranged him from god, and he has been at enmity with Him. Thus, as an enemy, someone had to make possible a reconciliation. Christ, assuming human nature, satisfied divine justice for our sins at Calvary, and through our acceptance of Him as Saviour we are received into favor again with an offended God. He never departed from man, and therefore has no need to be reconciled.
“All The Doctrines Of The Bible”, Herbert Lockyer, Zondervan, 1964, p. 191
God by His own will and design used His Son, the only acceptable and perfect sacrifice, as the means to reconcile sinners to Himself. God initiates the change in the sinner’s status in that He brings him from a position of alienation to a state of forgiveness and right relationship with Himself.
“The MacArthur Study Bible”, John MacArthur editor, commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:19
AS A SUBSTITUTION
Because Jesus Christ was fully deity and fully man, His death was substitutionary on behalf of humanity. The perfect and sinless life of Jesus Christ is the substitute for that of sinful human beings, and his death is also a substitute for the eternal spiritual death that has been pronounced as the judgment against all sinful human beings.
God the Father, using the principle of imputation, treated Christ as if He were a sinner though He was not, and had Him die as a substitute to pay the penalty for the sins of those who believe in Him (cf. Is. 53:4-6; Gal. 3:10-13; 1 Pet. 2:24). On the cross, He did not become a sinner (as some suggest), but remained as holy as ever. He was treated as if He were guilty of all the sins ever committed by all who would ever believe, though He committed none. The wrath of God was exhausted on Him and the just requirement of God’s law met for those for whom He died.
“The MacArthur Study Bible”, John MacArthur editor, commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:21
- The atonement is provided by Jesus Christ because of His resurrection from the dead.
THE REASON FOR HIS RESURRECTION
A redeemer who remains in the grave cannot redeem, a mediator cannot mediate and one to provide reconciliation between God and man, cannot do so from the grave. It was a necessity that Jesus Christ be raised from the dead, so that He might provide the means of atonement through His life.
THE AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURES CONFIRMED
After His resurrection, Jesus Christ said to His disciples, “These are My words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
The Holy Bible, Luke 24:44-47 (NAS)
THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE SACRIFICE BY CHRIST ACCEPTED BY GOD
Without being accepted by God, the sacrifice of Christ would have been meaningless. By the resurrection of Christ, God demonstrated His acceptance and approval of the work that Christ had accomplished.
Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord…”
The Holy Bible, Romans 1:1-4 (NAS)
The resurrection of Jesus Christ assures the believer in His gospel that they are also accepted by God.
He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God
The Holy Bible, Romans 4:25-5:2 (NIV)
ASSURES LIFE AND IMMORTALITY FOR THE BELIEVER IN CHRIST
We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him.
The Holy Bible, 1 Thessalonians 4:14 (NIV)
It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in His presence.
The Holy Bible, 2 Corinthians 4:13-14 (NIV)
Before long, the world will not see Me anymore, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live.
The Holy Bible, John 14:19 (NIV)
- The atonement is provided by Jesus Christ because of His ascension to heaven.
THE REASON FOR HIS ASCENSION
THAT GOD WOULD ACCOMPLISH THE EXALTATION OF CHRIST
Jesus Christ, who had willingly suppressed the position and power of His deity while in the form of a man, was restored to His former glory by God. Just as He had prayed during the Last Supper, the Father accomplished at the ascension of Christ:
“And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
The Holy Bible, John 17:5 (NKJ)
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when he raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above al rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. An He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
The Holy Bible, Ephesians 1:18-23 (NAS)
THAT JESUS CHRIST WOULD EXHIBIT HIS ONENESS WITH GOD
Just as Christ is one with the Father, believers can be one in Christ.
THAT JESUS CHRIST WOULD BE THE FORERUNNER OF BELIEVERS TO FOLLOW
Jesus Christ is the pattern for those believers who will follow. If God can exalt Jesus Christ, then Jesus Christ can exalt the believer and bring them to heaven. That is the statement of Jesus Christ and it is confirmed by His ascension and exaltation by God.
“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for god to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
The Holy bible, Hebrews 6:17-20 (NAS)
THAT JESUS CHRIST WOULD PREPARE A PLACE FOR BELIEVERS TO FOLLOW
“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
The Holy Bible, John 14:1-3 (NAS)
THAT JESUS CHRIST COULD ACT IN THE PLACE OF AN ETERNAL HIGH PRIEST
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the vail, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
The Holy Bible, Hebrews 6:19-20
And inasmuch as it was not without an oath (for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him, “The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, ‘You are a priest forever'”); so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, hold His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to god through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.
The Holy Bible, Hebrews 7:20-28 (NAS)
Jesus’ entering within the veil signifies His entering the Holy of Holies, where the sacrifice of atonement was made. Under the Old Covenant it was made yearly by the high priest. Under the New it has been made once for all time by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Our anchored soul is, in god’s mind, already secure within the veil, secure within His eternal sanctuary. When Jesus entered the heavenly Holy of Holies, he did not leave after the sacrifice as did the Aaronic high priests, but “He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3). In other words, Jesus remains there forever as Guardian of our souls. Such absolute security is almost incomprehensible. Not only are our souls anchored within the impregnable, inviolable heavenly sanctuary, but our Savior, Jesus Christ, stands guard over them as well! How can the Christian’s security be described as anything but eternal? Truly we can trust God and His Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, with our souls. That is good cause to come all the way to salvation and to enjoy its security. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Hebrews, John F. MacArthur, Moody Press, 1983, pp. 168-169
THAT CHRIST WOULD PROVIDE ACCESS TO GOD FOR THE BELIEVER
And he came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of god’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
The Holy Bible, Ephesians 2:17-22 (NAS)
This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.
The Holy Bible, Ephesians 3:11-12 (NAS)
Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of god, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
The Holy Bible, Hebrews 10:19-22 (NAS)
THAT CHRIST WOULD RULE A KINGDOM FROM HIS THRONE
It is the purpose of Jesus Christ to be an eternal mediator between God and man through His office as an eternal high priest.
You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
The Holy Bible, Luke 22:28-30 (NAS)
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” You are a king then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
The Holy Bible, John 18:36-37
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of god the Father.
The Holy Bible, Philippians 2:9-11
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE ATONEMENT
A person can and must take advantage of the provisions of the atonement in order that they can be reconciled to God. Without a reconciliation, the judgment of God will condemn the person to an eternity without God and without hope for rescue from hell.
The provisions of the atonement are obtained by means of salvation, which is secured through faith in Jesus Christ. It is the atonement which brings about the means of salvation, and it is salvation that brings about the benefits of the atonement into the life of the believer.
Salvation is defined as the rescue of a person from the imminent, critical and inevitable judgment of a holy and righteous God against humanity for sins committed and unrepented. Salvation has several components that define its meaning:
- CONVICTION AND CERTAINTY OF SIN IN THE LIFE OF A PERSON
It is presumed by the Scripture that all human beings have a knowledge of sin that is both innate to their being, and also revealed by the Spirit of God. It is the knowledge that reveals the guilt and confirms the judgment of God against the sinner. Knowledge of the sinful condition of all human beings is the prerequisite to salvation, and that knowledge is provided by God Himself, through the creation and by revelation.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen , being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
The Holy Bible, Romans 1:18-20 (NAS)
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”
The Holy Bible, John 16:7-11 (NAS)
- REPENTANCE AND CONFESSION OF SIN
All sin, regardless of how it was committed or against whom. has as its root rebellion against God and is ultimately a sin committed against God. As a consequence, repentance is required by God and confession to Him of offenses committed is necessary so that the full import and gravity regarding the serious nature of the offenses can be understood. Repentance is not simply saying, “I’m sorry,” because words come very cheap. Repentance, in its full meaning, is in relation to turning around, or a reversal of action. Repentance is not only saying that a person is sorry, but carries actions indicating that the person has turned in the opposite direction from the sins committed. repentance.
“Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!”
The Holy Bible, Ezekiel 18:30-32 (NAS)
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.”
The Holy Bible, Matthew 3:7-9 (NAS)
Repentance also carries with it a condition of true remorse and regret, not just because of the consequences of the sin, but because it was committed against God. This expression of remorse reaches to the core of a person’s being.
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.”
The Holy Bible, 2 Corinthians 7:10-11a (NAS)
As can be see, repentance involves an act of obedience and an agreement with God regarding the necessity of Repentance. It involves a response from the innermost being of a person, a sorrow that involves a regret for the commission of the sin itself, not just the negative results of that sin. It involves an action that signifies the validity and truthfulness of the repentance in that the person turns away from, or rejects the sin in their life, and that leads to the process of confession of sin to God.
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper. But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
The Holy Bible, Proverbs 28:13 (NAS)
When I was silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; and You forgave the guilt of my sin.
The Holy Bible, Psalm 32:3-5 (NAS)
On what basis are Confession and Repentance made? How does these elements bring a person closer to appropriation of the benefits inherent in the Atonement?
The benefits are appropriated through the gift of Faith, that is given from God. It is repentance that brings the person to a position of submission to God and a realization that separation from God is a reality and that reconciliation is not possible through human effort. It is through repentance that a person understands that only by pleading to the grace of God can a standing before God be obtained.
Irrespective of nationality, position or condition, sinners are called to repentance (Acts 5:31; 20:21; 26:20; Matthew 9:13; Luke 15:17,19; 24:47; II Peter 3:9). Saving repentance is the sinner’s forsaking of his own ways, the giving up of his own thoughts, and his full surrender to Christ. Repentance is not something the sinner must do to win god’s compassion. It is no protracted agony of soul, but a repentance to the acknowledging of the truth (II Timothy 2:24- 25). Repentance ushers in pardon for the sinner-it makes way for God’s pardoning grace (Acts 5:31). When David was humbled and broken because of his sin, Nathan said, “The Lord hath put away they sin” (II Samuel 12:13). Pardon is the richest of blessings for the repentant, believing sinner. “Pardoning mercy is the sauce that makes all other mercies taste the sweeter; it sweetens our health, riches and honor.”
All The Doctrines Of The Bible, Herbert Lockyer, Zondervan Publishing, 1964, p.174
Repentance is the preparation that leads to faith and the resultant appropriation of the benefits provided through the atonement. Faith involves a knowledge of the claims of Jesus Christ who is the object, an agreement as to the validity of those claims and an appropriation of those claims into the life of the person.
Knowledge About Claims of Jesus Christ
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
The Holy Bible, Romans 10:17 (NAS)
Agreement As To The Validity Of The Claims Of Jesus Christ
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to god must believe that He is and that he is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
The Holy Bible, Hebrews 11:6 (NAS)
Appropriation Of The Claims Of Jesus Christ
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, .who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
The Holy Bible, Luke 1:12-13 (NAS)
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
The Holy Bible, John 3:14-16
“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
The holy Bible, John 8:24 (NAS)
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”
The Holy Bible, John 11:25-27 (NAS)
THE THREE REQUIREMENTS OF FAITH The faith that God honors, the faith that is from a sincere heart, requires three things: felt need, content, and commitment.
Faith cannot begin until a person realizes his need for salvation. If he is without Christ, he needs salvation whether he recognizes it or not. But he will not have reason to believe until his need is felt, until it is recognized. When Saul was persecuting the church, he had a great need for salvation, but he certainly felt no need of it. He was thoroughly convinced he was doing god’s will. Only when the Lord confronted him dramatically on the Damascus road did his need become known and felt – in Saul’s case, very deeply. The need may not, at first, be clearly understood. On the Damascus road, Saul could not have explained his spiritual need in the way that he was able to do some years later when he wrote the book of Romans. He simply knew that something was desperately wrong in his life and that the answer was in God. He knew he needed something from the Lord.
Often a person’s felt need is only partial. The first feeling of need may only be for a purpose in life or for someone to love us and care for us. Or it may be a sense of need for forgiveness and removal of guilt, for inner peace. The most important thing is that a person realize that the answer to his need is in God. People came to Jesus for many reasons, some of them rather superficial. But when they came, Jesus met all their needs. They may have felt only a need for physical healing, but He also offered spiritual healing. Felt need does not require theological understanding of the doctrine of salvation, only a sincere heart that knows it needs salvation. On the other hand, a person who does not feel a need for salvation, no matter how good his theology, if far from faith in God. Felt need is essential, but inadequate on its own.
A person does not have to comprehend the full knowledge and understanding of the doctrine of salvation before he can be saved, but he does need the gospel truth (1 Cor. 15:1-5) that he is lost in sin and needs the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He must know the gospel. The idea of “blind faith” sounds spiritual, but it is not biblical. Even great persons of faith will not know many of the things about God until they see their Lord face to face in heaven. But God does not demand faith without giving reason for faith. The writer of Hebrews, for example, piles up truth upon truth and presents Jesus as the Jews’ promised Messiah. He also shows that the New Covenant is far superior to the Old, that the old sacrifices were ineffective, and that only the new sacrifice can bring a person to God-and so on and on.
The following story is told of Channing Pollock, a well-known playwright. Mr. Pollock was collaborating with another author in writing a play. As they were working late one night in Pollock’s New York apartment, something in the work they were doing caused the friend to say to Pollock, “Have you ever read the New Testament?” Pollock said he had not, and they continued working until early morning, when they parted, Pollock went to bed, but could not sleep. He was bothered b his friend’s question, simple and casual though it seemed. He finally got out of bed and searched the apartment until he found a New Testament. After reading the gospel of Mark through, he got dressed and walked the streets until dawn. Later, telling the story to the friend, he said, “When I returned home, I found myself on my knees, passionately in love with Jesus Christ.” Beginning with a felt need, vague as it was, he then looked at the truth and its evidence-and believed.
The climax of faith is commitment. Professing Christ, without commitment to Christ, is not saving faith.
My father often told the story of a tightrope walker who liked to walk a wire across Niagara Falls-preferably with someone on his back. Many people on the bank expressed complete confidence in his ability to do it, but he always had a difficult time getting a volunteer to climb up on him.
Many people express complete confidence in Christ but never trust themselves to Him.
As a missionary translator in the New Hebrides, John Paton was frustrated in his work for a long time because the people had no word for faith. One day a man who was working for him came into the house and flopped down into a big chair. The missionary asked him what the word would be for what he had just done. The word the man gave in reply was the one Paton used for faith in his translation of the New Testament. Without hesitation or reservation, the man had totally committed his body to the chair. he had felt his need for rest, he was convinced that the chair provided a place for rest, and he committed himself to the chair for rest. A believer must, in the same way, totally commit his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. Only then is faith, saving faith.
The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Hebrews, John F. MacArthur, Moody Press, 1983, pp. 264-265
Additional Source Acknowledgment:
The MacArthur Study Bible, John F. MacArthur, editor, Word Publishing, 1997
The Great Doctrines Of The Bible, William Evans, Moody Press, 1965
All The Doctrines Of The Bible, Herbert Lockyer, Zondervan Publishing, 1964
Resurrection Assurances, Louis T. Talbot, date and publisher unknown